The idea of co-directors of an arts institution associated with Bowdoin College is not unique.
Last summer, the Bowdoin hired Anne Collins Goodyear and Frank H. Goodyear as co-directors of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Husband and wife, they share administrative duties, each deferring to the other’s curatorial and administrative expertise.
Their offices are side-by-side, and they often meet at a foyer in the middle to share ideas and hash things out.
In September, brothers David and Phillip Ying will take over as co-artistic director of the Bowdoin International Music Festival. They are members of the Ying Quartet, and have been teaching at the Bowdoin festival for a decade.
Their situation is different from the Goodyears in that the college did not hire the Yings. The festival’s board of directors hired them. The festival is independent from the college, but uses the campus and its facilities for the summer festival.
As with the Goodyears, the Yings plan to manage the festival cooperatively, sharing duties and responsibilities without specific delineations.
“We’re really good communicators,” Phillip Ying said. “Playing in a quartet together for 22 years, you learn to communicate. We feel there is something really powerful about more than one person working toward a common goal, and there is an advantage of more ideas rather than fewer ideas. Solutions are something more powerful when it is not one person’s idea, but working through several ideas.”
David Ying had a more practical sense of how things will work.
“Anytime we have a problem, I’ll give it over to Phil. If it’s easy, I’ll take care of it.”